Crackdown At The Crosswalks
To keep roads safe for the more than 203,000 Orange County students starting summer break, the Orlando Police Department (OPD) and Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) will be out in full force reminding drivers to yield to pedestrians in marked crosswalks during Operation Best Foot Forward on Wednesday, June 14, starting at 7:30 a.m.
Operation Best Foot Forward is a high-visibility, dual-enforcement action to remind drivers about Florida’s driver yield law. Undercover officers wear plain clothes and cross the street at a marked crosswalk, giving motorists enough time to yield. Motorists who fail to yield will be issued a warning or a ticket – costing them $164 and three (3) points on their license. To date, more than 6,500 citations and warnings have been issued by OPD and OCSO at 59 monitored crosswalks.
Enforcement is part of the “Triple E” method that Best Foot Forward employs to increase driver yield rates. Education and outreach in areas with a high rate of pedestrian injuries and fatalities coupled with engineering improvements like street lighting, pavement markings and signals are also implemented to make roads safer for everyone.
Fast Facts – 2016 Pedestrian Crashes
- 50 people walking were struck and killed in Orange County in 2016
- 637 people were injured crossing the street in Orange County – that’s enough to fill two Boeing 747 planes
Fast Facts – Best Foot Forward Programs
- 2,401 citations and 4,168 warnings have been issued by OPD and OCSO through Operation Best Foot Forward
- 17 to 63 percent: the percentage increase in drivers now yielding to people in crosswalks on roads posted 35 mph and lower (Best Foot Forward crosswalks measured)
- 2 to 28 percent: the percentage increase in drivers now yielding to people using marked crosswalks on roads posted 40 mph and higher (Best Foot Forward crosswalks measured)
Crash Report Update
In 2016, 50 people walking were struck and killed in Orange County alone and 637 people were injured crossing the street according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. From January to May 2017, 32 people walking have been killed and 284 injured in Orange County. These numbers have contributed to the Metro Orlando area’s distinction as one of the most dangerous places for pedestrians in the nation.
Total Traffic Fatalities Up
The National Safety Council reported in February that it estimates 40,200 people died in traffic fatalities in 2016, a 6 percent increase from the previous year. If that estimate is confirmed, it will be the first time since 2007 that more than 40,000 people have died in motor vehicle accidents. The National Safety Council attributes the rise to distracted driving and an improved economy with more people driving more miles.
About Best Foot Forward & Pedestrian Safety in Metro Orlando
The Best Foot Forward pedestrian safety initiative was launched in June 2012 to reduce pedestrian deaths and injuries in Metro Orlando by getting drivers to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and getting pedestrians to be more careful crossing the street. More than a campaign, this “Triple-E” behavioral change process seeks to create lasting social good through the consistent and persistent application of low-cost engineering, community education, and high-visibility enforcement.
Initiated by Bike/Walk Central Florida under the leadership of former Orange County Mayor Linda Chapin, spearheaded by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, the Best Foot Forward coalition includes Orange County Government, Orange County Public Schools, Orlando Health, LYNX, Winter Park Health Foundation, MetroPlan Orlando, the City of Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Winter Garden, Apopka, and towns of Eatonville and Windermere as well as police chiefs throughout Orange County led by Orlando Police Chief John Mina and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.
The long-term goal is to cut pedestrian injuries in half in ten years. The short-term goals are to increase driver yield rates by 60 percent on roads posted 35 mph and lower, and a 10 percent increase on driver yield rates year over year on roads posted 40 mph and higher. To learn more, visit www.iyield4peds.org.by